Marshall Stay ('17) presented a poster titled 'Geophysical Investigations at the Heritage Valley Mound Site in Northeast Iowa' at the 60th Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference on October 7 in Iowa City, Iowa.
We asked Marshall to share some of his thoughts about the experience, and he provided some great responses!What was your conference experience like?
First of all, I was pretty nervous. This was my first academic conference that I have attended and I was also presenting a poster of the summer research that Colin and I did. I quickly discovered that poster presenting is actually pretty easy! As long as you know all the necessary information and are eager to answer the many questions that viewers pose, everything should go smoothly. Once I was finished presenting my research I was able to relax and enjoy the conference a bit more. I made a list of all the presentations of recent research that I was interested in, those directly related to my research as well as those which I had never heard of before. The atmosphere was very welcoming overall and I was able to personally meet many well-known archaeologists!Did you learn anything interesting?
I learned many interesting things at the Midwest Archaeological Conference. Probably the most important piece of knowledge I gained was how to prepare and present your research in a poster format. I feel like this conference has prepared me to actively participate in the archaeological community and that is very important to me. Alongside this, I was able to network with many professors from other universities who had interests in my work. I also learned that you should ALWAYS carry a handful of business/contact cards to hand out to those who express great enthusiasm in what you've done as they might wish to contact you for collaborative opportunities in the future. Attending the paper and poster presentations helped me to understand where archaeology stands in its current research and what sorts of methods are being employed to help advance this research as well.Should other students do anything like this too? Why?
Attending or presenting at an academic conference is something that I think all undergraduate students should do before they graduate. Not only does it allow for you to get your name out there for potential employment or graduate studies, but it also helps you to understand the importance of the research that you, or others are doing. It gives you a real-time assessment of how the field is progressing and really gets your head out of the textbook and into the real world. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Midwest Archaeological Conference and I strongly suggest that other undergraduates at least attend something similar!